How Many TV Channels Were There in 1970? (Answered)

There have not always been hundreds of TV channels to enjoy when you say down to watch TV. Modern TV audiences cannot conceive of a time when there were not literally thousands of shows to watch on television. It was not until the late 60s that there were regional channels that showed the news and other information on a regular basis to consumers. TV really hit its stride in the 70s, which can make people curious about how many channels people had to watch in the 70s.

The 60s was a time when people were just starting to expect to be able to afford to have a TV in their homes. Color TV was also possible, and people were very excited about this new development alongside more affordable TV sets.

How Many Channels Existed in the 70s?

In the 1970s, there were about 700 television stations. These stations showed all kinds of shows and news. A lot of their offerings were regional in nature and were not yet nationally focused. The concept of national programming was still focused on news and other kinds of informational programming. Entertainment programming was about to become more nationally focused, but that day was still somewhat out in the future.

Television programming is a huge part of culture these days, and the 70s was the time when this really became a big part of daily life. There were many social pressures that helped make this the case, and the concept of family and social time was changing greatly during the 70s. More and more mothers worked outside the home and could not be available to entertain children after school. Parents were also interested in educational television for their children, and this became a focus of many TV programming plans for networks.

TV was more than just a way to see important events like the Olympics or to hear the news in the 70s. There had already been programming changes in the late 50s and the 60s to add more content that was intended to be fun to the daily TV schedule. These efforts increased in the 70s as more children’s entertainment was added to the roster, and educational and informative content of a more general nature began to be popular. 

Shows like M*A*S*H have enjoyed lasting popularity and were originally targeted at the typical American adult in 1972. The fact that the programming that was popular in the 70s is still intriguing to people today says a lot about how much TV shows became a part of daily life during the 1970s. You can still find many shows that debuted in the 1970s that have fans watching reruns even now.

Television Became a Bigger Part of Life in the 1970s

Television was originally more targeted at communicating the news and world events to the public. However, as TV became a part of daily life, more and more entertainment shows and channels were added to the network offerings around the country. The changes that happened during the 70s helped to create the kind of varied and diverse 24-hour programming that we recognize today. The fact that there were already so many networks airing television programming in the 70s indicates just how big of a change there was in the way that people watched TV after the 60s.

This article was last updated on June 14, 2023 .

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By Adam

The Display Blog staff account. We know display.